Humanitarian and Youth Programs


September 2021
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Religious Youth Service

RYS Constructs a Community Center in Portugal

Participants: 110 Nations Represented: 38

Lisbon, Portugal—The RYS selected Portugal as the host nation for the next project and chose to largely focus on caring for the African immigrant population near Lisbon. Constructing a community center was a way to help give a place for older and younger generations to come together in a spirit of togetherness. This is especially important sociologically since the immigrant parents and children born in Portugal often adopt different sets of values and priorities.

Work Projects:

  • Lisbon: Participants built a community center and received the cooperation of the Catholic relief organization, CARITAS. A second project carried out was that of paving walking paths in the steep, dangerous hilly area of the community where heavy rains caused the recent death of a child and other problems.

Summary: This was the first European-based project and drew on religious advisors from all the different faiths. This project helped show many people what the RYS was about. Lack of experienced site leaders was a weakness. The closing reflection at Fatima was a very deep experience. This project drew a geographic and religiously diverse participant base.

Portugal staff: 

Project Director: Mr. Gary Young
Program Director: Mrs. Nancy Yamamoto
Education Co-coordinator: Dr. Patricia Gleason 
Site-Leaders: Mr. David and Rev. Aruna Alexander 
Rev. George Emory, Dr. Ibrahim Abdul-Rabbi 
Mr. Phillip and Izelda Withers 


Dr. Inamulah Khan
Dr. Avtar Singh (Templeton Award winner)
Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam

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